Outtakes | Jason Jules on Early Influences

JD: I noticed on the garmsville site you talk a lot about I Spy, was that a big influence?

Jules: Pretty huge.

JD: When was that show?

Jules: Mid to late '60s.

JD: Was that his first TV role?

Jules: Yeah, it was definitely his first acting role. He was a proper stand up comedian before then. He'd appeared on TV before but as a stand up comedian. Then he did some albums, then did I Spy which to me was amazing, clothing wise, humor wise, adventure wise. 

JD: what got you into that, was it because the humour was so good you paid attention to the clothes or the clothes  that got you into it?

Jules: I just think it was the whole thing. They appeared to have one kind of job but really they didn't, they had another job. The fact that they were always having fun in what they were doing. The fact that they were buddies, the fact that it was transgressive in the fact that it was a black guy and a white guy. All those things. And the fact that the clothes were amazing. Absolutely so on point. 

JD: I'd seen all these images of Bill Cosby on Tumblr, again stealing context or losing it, I should say, and wondered where they were from. It's nice to marry those images with a story. 

Jules: And it was very political at the time. This whole notion of Africa America being this landscape of constant conflict with the rest of America. And then you see these examples of 'actually it's not'. It's counter to the collective consciousness. It's an interruption. That's kind of inspiring, especially at the time. I was into all sorts of music and therefore everything that seemed to be counter, to a lot of people, black culture to me was just music. This means a lot. This means something other than white culture. That TV program gave permission to be into stuff. 

JD: Was that the first black and white pairing on TV?

Jules: Yeah, Robert Culp said they'd have equal billing whereas a lot of production people were saying that Robert Culp should have first billing. Successively, Bill Cosby had won loads of awards but Culp was just happy about it. Because he knew that it meant more than just acting. 

 

JD: James Brown as well. What was it about James Brown?

Jules: He's just so wrong isn't he?

JD: I remember him being about the hair. Then he had an afro for a little bit then he went back to the hair

Jules: He's so wrong. It's almost like he was just out on his own. Like in a moment in time that had nothing to do with the moment in time that he was in. From when he was doing Live at the Apollo, the music that he was making was so different from what everybody else was making. That point of difference, that originality, that commitment to your own shit. Also, there was a rare groove moment of people like Norman Jay, Trevor Madhatter and people like that and when I was doing clubs I was doing a few of those rare groove clubs. It was a lot of fun, a helluva lot of fun but it was at the same time when James Brown was in prison, so it's almost like we had this hero but no one knew anything about him. Just this alien music that everyone was listening to. To me it just means a lot really. 

JD: He was the Otis Redding of his time, where people had never really seen him?

Jules: Yes, exactly.